King County's aging sewer system is in good shape overall, but there is an ongoing problem that causes damage and costs taxpayers money. It's garbage that should go in the trash but ends up getting flushed down the toilet.
Sewer inspection crews go out every day to look for problems throughout the system. Instead of just focusing on what's flowing underground, they've turned their truck into an important public message. A toilet is painted on the side with the words “this is not a trash can.”
At the treatment plant, they collect truckloads of trash every year. It costs taxpayers about $120,000 to haul it to landfills.
Many of the items appear to belong to children, so they're talking with families and hoping parents will educate kids on what's really supposed to go down the toilet.
“I think a lot of it is little kids not knowing,” Matt Charles said. “I think it would be helpful if parents said don't flush your doll head down the toilet, or don't flush your Tyco car down the toilet.”